Newsletter 3/30/12

Sermon at Journey Church

On March 18, I preached a sermon at Journey Church – I shared about how Jesus calls us to radical obedience in following Him, using the model of how He called the first disciples in Luke 5. This was the third sermon that I’ve ever written – You can read the cliff notes version of my sermon here: http://onekingdomwarrior.com/2012/03/27/what-can-jesus-do-with-your-little-life/
Or you can download and listen to the sermon here: http://jcboston.org/radical-obedience/As Director of Compassion and Outreach, I’ve also been working hard with my pastors to prepare for Journey Church’s 2nd Annual Cambridge Community Easter Egg Hunt happening tomorrow, March 31. Last year more than 250 kids came – this year we have more than 4,000 eggs (yes that’s four THOUSAND), two bounce houses, face painting, games and more!

Prayer Request! Pray that Jesus’ love would go forth in a tangible way to bless families in this community. Also pray for good weather and safety for the children.


 UniteBoston to become a 501c3 non-profit
At last night’s UniteBoston meeting, we decided to go through with becoming our own 501c3 non-profit organization. We have been so thankful for the BC Law students who have come alongside us and helped us with this process. Becoming a 501c3 non-profit organization will enable UniteBoston to write tax-deductible receipts and apply for grants, which I believe will bring us to the next level as an organization.
Answered Prayers!  I am amazed at the faithfulness of the God we serve. In the past month, UniteBoston has brought a new Director of Finance on board, as well as an old friend of mine who is going to be writing grants for us from Germany, someone who will be working to re-build our website, and more people who have expressed interest in serving with UniteBoston.
Prayer Request: Please continue to pray that God would send someone to take over my responsibilities as Director of Operations so there will be a smooth transition before I depart for the World Race mission trip in July.


Update on Support
I am currently at 88% of my monthly support goal – If you feel led to contribute monthly to my ministry support, checks can written out to “Elim Fellowship” with a slip of paper that says “Preferred for Kelly Steinhaus” sent to: Elim Fellowship – Contributions / 1703 Dalton Road / Lima NY 14485-9516. Thanks for joining alongside me in this journey!

A Cool Random Photo – 
Last week, I went up to Plum Island Nature Reserve in Newburyport, MA with some friends. It was super beautiful – I love the rocky Massachusetts coastline! Here’s me getting really excited about the ocean…
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Posts on my blog this month:
A Story about Sand Dollars, along with a funny video that you won’t want to miss, where I tell the story, Gabe eats my hair and we praise the Lord all amidst standing on a tidepool!
-True Story of Saint Patrick – Not many people know the story behind the holiday – Patrick was quite a spiritual fellow…
-Just Stop and Think –  If the world were a global village of 100 people, what would we look like?
You’re Beautiful – An attempt to see the world through God’s perspective
If you want to receive more regular updates from me, click on “follow me” on the blog – this way, you will get an email every time I update my blog.Last, but not least – In February, Dr. John Lennox of Oxford shared at Harvard University on Miracles: Is Belief in the Supernatural Natural? I usually don’t post these sorts of things, but this lecture was absolutely phenomenal. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s definitely something you’re going to want to listen to. Definitely check it out!

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”  The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126:1-3)

Yes, I am filled with joy, and I pray that you would be too – The joy of the Lord is our strength!

In Him,

Kelly

What can Jesus do with your little life?

I gave a sermon last Sunday at Journey Church. This was the third sermon that I’ve ever shared (I’m still not able to call it the p-word, preached). For those of you who weren’t able to attend, my church does an awesome job of recording the sermons; you can listen to it here:

http://jcboston.org/radical-obedience/

http://www.jcboston.org/audio/3-18-12KellySteinhausRadicalObedience.mp3 (direct link to mp3)

You can even download it and listen to it on your ipod on repeat :-) Just kidding. I wouldn’t want to make you go through that. But for those of you who don’t have the time or ability to listen to it, I’ve pasted the cliff-notes version below:

Radical Obedience in Following Christ

If you were to start a world movement, who would you choose? Someone in the government who could influence legislation? Someone with a lot of resources to help finance your vision? Maybe you’d choose someone who is the head CEO and has a lot of good connections.

But when Jesus came, who did He choose to carry out his message? He didn’t choose people who were of high ranking, or status, or people who were wealthy. He chose regular, ordinary, everyday fisherman. Indeed, the fact that they were fishermen means that the rabbis had rejected them for work in the temple.

So there is only one qualification that Jesus seems to look for in people – it’s their willingness to respond to his call.

The reality is that Jesus doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. What about you – how are you responding to Jesus? If you were at work right now, whether it’s in the office, whether it’s in classes as a student, or even at home as a mom, what if Jesus were to come to you and invite you to leave your whole life behind to follow Him, would you? Why or Why not?

When the disciples encountered Jesus, they left everything to follow Him. Their radical steps of faith are something we can all learn from. What radical step is Jesus asking you to take today in following Him? What can Jesus do with your little life?

Let’s look at the story for today – Luke 5:1-11

Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets. When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

I can sum this message up in one sentence – “Following Jesus Requires Radical Obedience Now” – and in this are three ideas which build upon one another – “Following Jesus” “Requiring Radical Obedience” and “Now – the immediacy.”

First, verses 1-3 emphasize that Christianity is about following Jesus. Simon, James, and John had known Jesus for a some time here, and Jesus does something so significant at the beginning of this story – he enters the boats of the men. Jesus invites us into a relationship with Him, saying, “Come, follow me,” not “Come, follow these rules” as is emphasized in other religions. Sometimes people think that Christianity is all about doing certain practices, such as reading your bible, praying or going to church. But Billy Sunday said that “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”

I firmly believe that in order to follow Jesus, you have to first fall in love with Jesus. The fact is that when you encounter Jesus’ love powerfully, you desire nothing else. Our obedience comes out of a relationship with Him.

When I was in college, I was invited to go to church by some friends – during worship there was something there that was filling my heart in a way that nothing else had. I started to wonder if this whole Jesus thing was true? I felt like my life was great, why should I change anything? But the more and more I learned about Jesus, the more and more I learned that there is so much more to life than I had ever experienced. And there was one night in my dorm room when I realized that my head believed it was true, but my heart wasn’t there. I prayed that God would reveal Himself to me, that I would fully know that He is who He says He is. And the next morning I woke up and literally the whole world looked different – the sky was bluer than I’ve ever seen it, the grass was vibrant green. And I believed! I just knew that everything the bible said about Jesus was true – something in me changed, and the only way I know how to explain it is to say it was Jesus. I wanted to tell everyone about Him.

When you encounter Jesus, something changes. What about you? Have you encountered Jesus? Have you fallen in love with Jesus?

When you’re in love with someone, you’ll go to great lengths to be with them, you’ll drive for hours to be together, you don’t mind staying up late just to talk, you’re willing to spend a small fortune on them, and when you’re apart it’s miserable.

Is that how you feel about Jesus? On a scale from 1-10, how in love with Jesus are you?

If our obedience flows out of anything other than love, then it comes from a wrong place. I encourage you to examine your motives today – Do you go to church because you’re supposed to, or because there’s something about Jesus you just can’t get enough?

I’m so thirsty for things of God. Sometimes I’m at work and I just want to pray, so I go to the bathroom, close the door and literally ask Jesus to fill me up with His love, with His presence. I ask Him to break through the darkness, the sin that I see in the world. Sometimes I feel like I literally can’t go through a few hours of my day without encountering Jesus in this way.

I believe that you will only love Jesus as much as you know you are loved. God so loved the world that He sent His own son so that we wouldn’t die but we would have everlasting life (John 3:16). So today, if you’re saying “I want that, I know there is more to this world, I want something real” then you’re in a great place. Jesus said you’ll find me if you seek me with all your heart – there is one prayer that Jesus loves to answer, “Jesus, reveal yourself to me.” Pray that today, and see what happens – you might find yourself falling  in love…

In the second section (verses 4-10), we see how following Jesus requires radical obedience.

Our obedience for Christ comes from a place of love. But you can’t obey unless you first learn to hear Jesus’ voice. The first disciples had Jesus to listen to directly, and today we have to learn how to hear the Holy Spirit in our hearts, which I believe is the most important skill of being a Christian.

I wanted to share my friend Lessie’s insights in hearing Jesus: “Well, it’s kind of like thinking a thought, only it’s not your voice in your head and the thought is VERY strong. At first, I used to think I was just imagining it, but the things He would tell me would start to come true. Things that I couldn’t have known or even understood. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if what I’m hearing is God or not. But God’s voice never puts me down. Even if He’s correcting me, it’s always to lift me up. He never attacks my character (you’re stupid, you’re ugly, you’re bad, etc…). He also doesn’t use the word “If” with me. His words are very sure. And when He speaks, it’s with love.”

How do you learn to hear His voice? The main way is just to spend time with God – reading your bible, praying, seeking God. The more time you spend with Him, the louder you will actually hear His voice – it’s like hearing a friend in a crowd in a room. If you hear your friend in a large crowd of people, you can pick their voice out. It’s the same way with Jesus – but we first need to learn what He sounds like, and that can only happen through spending time with Him.

One of the ways you might know that it’s God speaking is that it’s something counterintuitive; that doesn’t make sense at all. In verse 4, Jesus tells the Simon to put into the deep water for a catch. Simon answers, “Master, we’ve worked hard and caught nothing.” He thought, “What a waste of time? They were professionals!”

There will be many moments when you must make a decision whether to obey or not. Heidi Baker, a woman missionary in Africa that I deeply respect said that her secret is to say “yes” to whatever the Holy Spirit tells her.

We see here that Peter chose to obey to what Jesus told Him, even though it didn’t make sense – and he yielded the greatest catch ever.

You don’t obey because it makes sense, you obey because of who is giving the command. It’s almost like God is asking, “Who is in charge here? Me or you?”

Last spring I was in a similar position as Peter – Jesus was asking me to do something that sounded a bit crazy. I was working in a high school at the time, and I literally walked into the room the last week of school and felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “This is your last week here.” And then the last day of school, “This is your last day here.”

And I knew that Jesus was asking me to leave my teaching job in order to pursue working in Christian ministry on a full-time basis.

People tried to talk me out of it – people called me crazy for leaving my job in a time when thousands of people were looking desperately for jobs. I wondered how I would pay rent as our nation struggled through the worse economic crisis in decades. But through it all, I have to say, God has been more than faithful. When we take steps to follow Him, He sends all of heaven’s angels and the power of God to back you. When you’re following Jesus, and God is on your side, there’s nowhere safer to be. And He has continued to provide for me, not just enough, but more than enough. Risk provides reward in Christ – and He is more than enough for us.

In this story, these disciples were called to leave the biggest catch of their life. And you do have to count the cost – it’s not easy to leave your old life behind. You will be tempted to go back, and there will be times when you doubt. I think the hardest part about leaving my teaching job was making that first call to my supervisor to tell her I wasn’t going to be teaching the next year. Because that meant there was no going back. There was nothing else I could rely on, other than Jesus.

But this is when you see Jesus move. He moves out of a place of dependency. When you step out of your comfort zone in radical obedience to follow Him, that delights the heart of Our Father. What radical step of obedience might He ask you to take today?

In the third part of the story, verse 11, we see the immediacy of His call. In Mark’s account of this story, it says that “at once” they left and followed Him. There is a tendency in our society to put things off, to say, I’ll do that next week, or next month, next year. And our good intentions turn into ideas, then into things that get pushed aside amidst the busyness of life and never happen.

In Matthew 8:22 Jesus calls a young man, and the young man replies, “Let me first bury my father.” Jesus tells him to “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Now that sounds pretty harsh, but the reality is that when we are following Jesus, delayed obedience is disobedience. Today is the day, the time is now. When Jesus calls, we have to go now. Don’t wait any longer.

We can’t wait, because our obedience to Christ’s call doesn’t just affect our own lives, it affects the lives of everyone we interact with and everyone in our future. A few years ago, one man was praying in Rochester, New York, and saw a vision of a heart beating over the city of Boston, pumping life in every direction. Immediately, he visited Boston, felt called to start a church, and at once he picked up his family and moved here. It’s only because of his obedience that our church exists. There is no other reason that we would all be together in this room.

Let me tell you, the life that He has for you is so much better than any life you might dream for yourself. I’ve heard it said that God will fill up however much you give him – if it’s a glass of water, then he will fill that, or if you give him an ocean then he will fill that.  How much of your life will you give to God?

Right now, will you ask God to reveal what step He wants you to take today? Sit and wait and see what Jesus puts on your heart. It probably won’t be literal words, although it may be, but you might have a sense of something you’re supposed to do. Invite Him into aspects of your life – to convict you of ways you are not following Him – He will send you around and around the same mountain unless you decide to make a change.

Whatever the step is, you need to do it right away. Jesus, the one who created you and made you, is calling. His plan for your life is so much greater than you could ever imagine.

Yes, Jesus doesn’t just call the wealthy, or the well-connected; would you believe that Jesus is choosing you to carry on His mission? The first disciples abandoned family and friends, left their careers, left certainty for uncertainty, and the world was forever changed because of their obedience.  What might happen when you follow Him like that?

DL Moody said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with one man wholly dedicated to Him. I want to be that man.” Do you want to be that man? Will you be that woman?

What can Jesus do with your little life? You won’t know unless you ask Him and then take steps to follow His call…

Jesus, I give you my life. Help me to fall in love with you deeper every day, that my heart would burn with your passion. Speak to me today as to how I can follow you deeper. Give me courage to step in  your path, in whatever direction you lead me. Thank you that your plan for my life is better than anything I can ever imagine. In Jesus’ name, amen.

A Story About Sand Dollars

Last Saturday, I took the commuter rail up to my friends Jonathan and Cassie’s house, who live two blocks from the biggest private beach in New England. It’s a mile long and the use is restricted to people within their neighborhood. That means it’s pretty much the best thing, ever. I come up to visit, pretending that I want to see their family, but secretly I just enjoy hanging out at their beach.

On Saturday morning, I went on a run on the beach, and God did something really cool.

I was jogging for a little while, and then I prayed, “God, I’ve always wanted to find a whole sand dollar. It would be really cool if I found one this morning, as a symbol of your provision.”

Ten minutes later I look down and I see one at my feet, a whole one, in perfect condition. At first I didn’t think it was real. But no, there it was, a whole, solid sand dollar. I picked it up between my fingers, shouted, “Thank you, God!” and kept it clenched in my hand as I continued running, praising God for answered prayers.

Then a few minutes later I look down at my feet and see another sand dollar. Then I look around and see another, another, and I realize I’m standing amidst dozens of living sand dollars. I counted 38 of them. Wow! What is this about? I sensed the Holy Spirit was telling me, “When you trust in me, you won’t just have enough, you will have more than enough.”

Now that’s cool, huh? Two scripture verses came to mind:

  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
  • Philippians 4:19 – “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

It’s freeing to know that when we trust in God, and put His kingdom first, He will give us everything that we need. But God won’t just provide for what we need, He’ll provide for more than we need – He loves us that much!

Later I asked Cassie about sand dollars on the beach, and she told me how the section of the beach I was running on is typically filled with sand dollars. But my morning jog really meant a lot to me. It’s cool how when you choose to pray and talk to God, you see Him  answer prayers, turning a regular-old morning jog on the beach into a perspective-shifting, life-changing morning. Not only do I believe that He will provide for everything that I need, I have seen Him do it, time and time again. I know His provision is real because I’ve personally experienced how God will give you what you need, right when you need it.

Here I tell the story about sand dollars, Gabe eats my hair and we praise the Lord all amidst standing on a tidepool…

Story of Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick was born in Wales in 385 AD. As a child, he identified as Pagan and his friends called him Maewyn.  When he was fourteen or so, he was kidnapped by Irish marauders and held as a slave.

In his captivity, he turned to God and wrote:

“The love of God and my fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

When Patrick was twenty, he escaped from captivity after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast – there he found some sailors who took him back to Britain. In Britain he had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him: “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.” With this dream, he believed that God was sending him back to Ireland as a missionary.

Then, he began studying in a monestary to become a priest. For thirty years he traveled through Ireland preaching the Gospel, baptizing thousands, and establishing monasteries all over the country. Patrick died on March 17 in 461 AD at Saul, where he had built his first church.

Patrick incorporated Irish traditions into their practice of Christianity, so he superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross, which became a Celtic cross.

Patrick used the three-leaved clover as a tool to teach people about the Trinity. Each of the clover leaves represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Because of this, the shamrock was adopted as a symbol of St Patricks Day.

(Source = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=89
http://www.history.com/topics/who-was-saint-patrick)

Just stop and think…

In the past month or so, I’ve started to realize how our upbringing affects the way that we look at the world. This is partly due to the “Perspectives in World Missions” class that I am taking, and a few other books I’m reading. Having lived my whole life in America, I’m realizing that I’m relatively “blind” about the lifestyle and situations taking place in other countries. Although it’s easy to think that America is on top of the world, that’s not necessarily a good thing when you look at global wealth and what we are spending our money on. God has been teaching me that the world we live in really is a lot bigger than I thought. And as I prepare to leave in July for the World Race, I am excited that not only am I be learning about these things intellectually, I will be experiencing the diversity present in our world firsthand.

For example, if all the people in the world represented a single “global village” of 100 people,

  • 60 would be asian
  • 14 african
  • 12 European
  • 8 Latin American
  • 5 American/Canadian
  • 1 South Pacific
  • 51 male
  • 49 female
  • 82 non-white
  • 18 white
  • 67 non-Christian
  • 33 Christian

Here’s a video displaying this “Global Village”:

I guess I tend to assume that everyone is like me, so it surprises me that if the whole world were 100 people, there would only be only 18 white, and 5 Americans in the bunch.

Here are some other striking statistics about the world that I’ve discovered- just stop and think

-1 in 7 worldwide do not have enough food to sustain them. The world can and does produce enough food to feed all of its 6.7 billion inhabitants – the problem is that both the food and the capacity to produce it are unequally distributed

-The top 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the world’s goods

-In 1820, the gap between the richest and poorest countries was 4 to 1
in 1913, the gap was 11 to 1
in 1950, the gap was 35 to 1
in 2002, the gap was 95 to 1

-The governments of the world are spending 1.2 trillion – 12 hundred billion – on militaries. The US accounts for almost half of this figure, spending more than 46 nations combined. Just $65 billion/year would be enough to lift one billion people living less than $1/day out of extreme poverty – only 5% of global military spending.

-No wonder why Gahndi said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

(Statistics above from Richard Stearns’ book The Hole in Our Gospel, a great read)

Jesus told us to pray by saying,”Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Yes, Jesus. May you bring forth Your kingdom on this earth. Show me, teach me, use me in this world, that I might better reflect your love and glory. Teach us how to be stewards of this planet and the resources you have given us to live on. Give us eyes to see one another as you see us, and give us a heart of compassion, in order that we might alleviate the injustices in the world. May the whole earth be filled with your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You’re Beautiful: An attempt to see the world through God’s perspective

We all have times when we wonder, “Does anybody think I’m beautiful?”

The other day I was at a coffee shop and I ending up spilling hot cocoa all over myself and my blue skirt; then afterwards my still-slippery shoes tripped and I fell down the stairs. My klutzy teenage years came flooding back to me and in that moment the thought came to me, “Does anybody think I’m beautiful?”

And then I remembered this spoken word poem by a guy name Mike Young, a gifted young man at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. He does an amazing job at explaining this tension we all live in – we all want to feel beautiful, and yet we live in a world that speaks lies to us about who we are and the source of our identity. We are constantly bombarded with ideas such as – you don’t have enough money, you have to graduate from this particular school or have this degree to be successful, you’re not pretty enough, sexy enough, wealthy enough, beautiful enough.

In the above video, Mike describes some of these struggles, then asks, “Does anybody think I’m beautiful?” In a vast turn, Mike proclaims how God does, how God knew him since the beginning of time, how God paints creation in order that we might call on His name and know His infinite love for us. Indeed, if we base our identity on anything other than Christ’s love, it will fall away…You – yes, you – You are beautiful. Believe it. Receive it. Then weave it into who you are and who you become.

1 John 3:1 – “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

So, which one of us is God’s favorite? Some people might say that God doesn’t have favorites, but indeed he does – we are all his favorite!  Today my goal was to try to see myself and others around me the way that God sees them. I prayed that God would give me His eyes and heart for a new vision of the world – that I would see the beauty within each person around me.

In my journey to early morning prayer, I passed by a homeless man with only a blanket and the sidewalk as his bed. I asked him to tell me about his life. He told me about how yesterday he had walked from the airport to here, carrying his entire possessions with him. I can’t imagine carrying everything I owned on my back for miles. I told him that I thought the simplicity of his life was beautiful.

I saw a young girl in the grocery store carrying a silver piece of artwork from school, and I asked her to tell me about it. She described how it was supposed to be a lion but everyone though it was a dog. I told her that I thought it was absolutely beautiful. Her eyes lit up and she gave me a memorable 8-year old toothy smile.

When I was in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, there was a man tending to an elderly gentleman who needed some dental work done. It was captivating to watch their interactions – I noticed how every move was dedicated to the care and well-being of the elderly gentleman. He was there to live for the other – it was indeed beautiful. He was seeing that guy through the eyes of Christ.

Last night, I told one of my coworkers at Trader Joe’s that I liked her hair. She said she had just gotten it cut and highlighted – did I really like it? I said, “Yes, it’s beautiful.” And those simple words seemed to make all the difference.

Ephesians 5:1-2: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 

God, would you open our eyes to see ourselves and others the way that you see us. I pray that you would show me how I can help each person I meet to understand who they are, how you have made them, and how beautiful they are in your eyes. I pray that you would give me opportunities to demonstrate your immense, incredible love to the world around me.

Will you take time today to see the world through God’s perspective? Will you tell someone today that they’re beautiful?